Main Street/Shop Local

    Businesses Look to Create Sustainable Connections With Consumers

    On Saturday, December 6, Sustainable Connections (SC), a Bellingham, Washington, local-business network, will be holding a "Buy Local Day." The event kicks off a holiday season-long promotional campaign in which SC is asking Whatcom County, Washington, consumers to "Think Local, Buy Local, Be Local." Inspired by Austin Unchained, which was held November 15 and organized by the Austin Independent Business Alliance, the aim of SC's Th

    Local Businesses and Residents Unchain Austin for a Day

    On Saturday, November 15, the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) asked central Texas residents to forego chain store shopping for one day in favor of local merchants.

    New Report Demonstrates Benefits to Local Economies When Consumers Unchain Their Hearts

    On November 15, the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) will ask central Texas residents to celebrate their independence by foregoing chain-store shopping for one day in favor of local merchants. Local Austin businesses organized the event, Austin Unchained, in an effort to prove that even one day of shopping at locally owned businesses would have a significant economic impact on the city of Austin.

    Phoenix Businesses Look to Educate Consumers on the Value of Independents

    In many communities across America, the onslaught of corporate retailers and large chains is a pressing issue for local businesses trying to remain competitive. That's certainly the case in the Phoenix metro area (which includes Glendale, Scottsdale, and Tempe), where a coalition of local businesses is seeking to change the market landscape by educating consumers and local politicians about the economic value of supporting independent businesses.

    Maine Study Finds Locally Owned Businesses Better for Local Economy

    According to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a national nonprofit organization providing policy solutions for building strong local economies and sustainable communities, and Friends of Midcoast Maine, a regional grassroots organization supporting smart growth, three times as much money stays in the local economy when consumers buy goods and services from locally owned businesses compared to chain stores.

    Fighting For Their Independents: The American Independent Business Alliance

    Jeff Milchen and Jennifer Rockne want to change community culture on a national level, one town at a time. Milchen and Rockne aspire to help local businesses band together and to educate communities on the value of supporting local, independent businesses. That's why, in August of 2001, they founded the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).

    An Independent Alliance Grows in Corvallis

    In 2001, after hearing that a Borders Books & Music would be moving to Corvallis, Oregon, Jack Wolcott, co-owner of Grass Roots Books & Music, and Bob Baird, owner of The Book Bin, asked the founders of the Boulder Independent Business Alliance (BIBA), Jeff Milchen and Jennifer Rockne (more recently, the founders of the American Independent Business Alliance) to host a Town Hall Meeting regarding the impact of local businesses versus chains.

    Back by Populist Demand -- Celebration of Independents Week Unites Local Businesses and the Community

    Two years ago, inspired by the Book Sense 76, the owners of Inkwood Books in Tampa, Florida, put all of the month's 76 titles on sale during the week of July 4 to celebrate the Independence Day holiday and to bring attention to their store as an independent business.

    My Home Town: An Author's Take on the Coming of a Chain

    The following column by Amy Stewart, author of The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms, forthcoming from Algonquin Books (January 2004), originally appeared in the May 8 edition of Humboldt County, California's North Coast Journal.

    Economic Impact of Locally Owned Businesses

    On Saturday, May 31, at BookExpo America in Los Angeles, the session "Economic Impact of Locally Owned Businesses" attracted a large crowd of independent booksellers who came to hear about a recent study that documented how local retailers contribute more to the local economy than do national retailers. The panel featured Steve Bercu, CEO of BookPeople in Austin, Texas, and Dan Houston of Civic Economics, who discussed the report "Economic Impact Analysis -- A Case Study: Local Merchants vs.

    * * * Countdown to Book Expo * * * Economic Impact Analysis Takes Center Stage at ABA Panel Discussion

    On Saturday, May 31, from 10:30 to noon at BookExpo America, the panel "Economic Impact of Locally Owned Businesses" will give attendees the opportunity to see firsthand the results of a study showing the economic impact of chains versus local, independent retailers.

    Helping Maintain Austin's Independence: BTW Talks with BookPeople's Steve Bercu

    Steve Bercu, owner of BookPeople in Austin, Texas

    Last summer, Steve Bercu, the owner of the independent bookstore BookPeople, joined with Waterloo Records, the Austin Independent Business Alliance, and Liveable City, a local, nonprofit community organization, in a campaign to keep

    Think Globally, Shop Locally: Santa Fe Independent Businesses Band Together

    In Santa Fe, New Mexico, independents are putting into practice the adage "There's power in numbers." Local independent retailers, community organizations, and businesses have joined together to form the Santa Fe Independent Business Community Alliance (SFIBCA) -- a nonprofit coalition that aims to improve the local economy by driving consumers to local, independent retailers.

    Borders Pulls Out of Austin Development

    On April 23, Borders Books & Music announced that it was pulling out of a proposed Austin, Texas, development situated across the street from two independent retailers, BookPeople and Waterloo Records. The bookstore chain's plans to open a store at Sixth and Lamar in downtown Austin had stirred up strong opposition. Liveable City, a local, nonprofit community organization, commissioned an economic study indicating that local merchants contribute significantly more money to the local economy than do retail chains.

    Additional Resources on Main Street Alliances

    Here are additional resources on supporting locally owned businesses.

    The New Rules Project -- Promoting rules and policies that foster strong, self-conscious and self-determining communities.

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